New abortion law in Georgia criminalizes abortion after six weeks. Women who do face life sentence.

"Bans like this have always been blocked by courts. We will be suing Georgia to make sure this law has the same fate."

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a “fetal heartbeat” bill into law on Tuesday making it illegal for women to have abortions after about six weeks categorizing Georgia to have the most extreme abortion ban in the United States. HB 481 puts restrictions on women’s reproductive rights and subjects women who have “illegal abortions” subjects of a life sentence or even the death penalty, Slate reported.

The bill prohibits abortions after “embryonic or fetal cardiac activity,” which can typically be detected at six weeks pregnant, but it goes on to declare that “unborn children are a class of living, distinct person” who deserve “full legal recognition.”

“Georgia is a state that values life,” Kemp said. “We protect the innocent, we champion the vulnerable, we stand up and speak for those that are unable to speak for themselves.”

Any women that goes through with an illegal abortion or self-terminates her pregnancy will be criminalized under Georgia’s new fetal heartbeat bill. A women who undergoes an abortion from a health care provider “would be a party to murder” and therefore face life in prison, while a women who self-terminates a pregnancy through drugs or other methods will be committing murder and could receive a life sentence penalty or capital punishment, Slate reported.

A women who is a Georgia resident that receives an out-of-state lawful abortion could still face punishment of up to 10 years in prison charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

As of now, the Supreme Court’s precedent protects women’s reproductive rights and makes such abortion laws like HB 481 invalid because of the landmark decision inRoe v. Wade. The decision in the 1973 case “protects a woman’s right to an abortion up until when the fetus is viable, which typically happens between 24 and 25 weeks,” CBS reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights said Georgia’s new abortion law is “unconstitutional” and the Center will fight the bill before its effective date.

“This law is bafflingly unconstitutional,” said Elisabeth Smith, chief counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in an email to CBS. “Bans like this have always been blocked by courts. We will be suing Georgia to make sure this law has the same fate.”


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